SO CHRISTMAS BEGAN: This year’s carol service in Iden Church, on December 17th, epitomised all that is good about a village. The many components which made it so memorable showcased the unity which exists in Iden, and lead us into Christmas as it should be portrayed. Teresa, our vicar looked happy and proud of her flock, and rightly so, because she was standing in front of a village who pull together, and pool their resources. Firstly, the Church looked particularly splendid. The porch, the tree, the window sills, the altar, and every aspect of the church reflected nature’s wintry offerings. The Church flower ladies had worked their magic. Susannah Miller, our organist had rehearsed the choir, who sang their specific choral pieces beautifully. The Church was packed, and the congregation had their pathway into the Church lit by small candles. The readings were well chosen and thoughtfully distributed by Alison Gilbert. Everyone read well. Geoffrey Chater-Robinson treated us to such a vividly intonated poem entitled ‘While Shepherds slept’, by Chris Pearson, that we may have all been present at the stable scene in Bethlehem. Susannah Miller and Caroline Kehoe, played a duet, for organ and oboe [respectively], which was beautiful. The choice of music was a mix of traditional and. lesser-known carols. After the service we feasted on mulled wine and Christmas fare, provided by parishioners and ‘Friends of Iden Church’. Everyone mingled, in that energized way, that tells us that Christmas has begun. During the service, a friendly bat did a turn around the Church ceiling to wish us a ‘Happy Christmas’ [it was all quite perfect!].

A CRIB SERVICE: There will be a crib service at Playden on Christmas Eve, at 3.30pm

MIDNIGHT MASS: Midnight Mass will be held in Iden Parish Church on Christmas Eve, at 11.30am.

FAMILY SERVICE: There will be a Christmas day ‘Family Service’, at 9.30am in Iden Parish Church, and 11.30am at Playden.

A CHURCH ‘TEAM SERVICE: This amalgamated service will be held on Sunday 27th December at St Mary’s Church Rye, at 10.30am.[no services that day in Iden or Playden]

LOOKING AHEAD TO JANUARY: There will be a meeting of the IDEN AND DISTRICT NATURAL HISTORY SOCIETY, at 7.30pm in Iden village hall, on Friday 8th January, with a lecture entitled ‘Birds, Their Nests, Eggs And Young’, by John Buckingham. Visitors are most welcome, and pay £3.

KNITTER-NATTER GROUP: Iden W.I. are starting a Knitter-Natter Group on Tuesday January 26th, in Iden village hall, from 2pm-4pm. Anyone from the Rye area is welcome, and you can sew, knit, or do any form of needlework. You can bring a jigsaw, adult- colouring, card-making, or the crossword. The idea is for ladies to meet together, and chat, and do something they enjoy with their hands or their brain. Do come along, you need not be a W.I member.

PLEASE JOIN: The Iden And Playden Horticultural Society badly need new members. Numbers have been falling, and it would be such a shame if we lost something so special. The Society put on these beautiful seasonal shows in Iden village hall, and there must be keen gardeners in Iden who would enjoy the shared passion of horticulture.. All that is beautiful about the gardens around Iden are portrayed so lovingly in the society’s seasonal shows, transforming Iden village hall into something which epitomises horticulture at it’s best. It would be so nice to have new members in 2016, so please do think about joining.

THE FIRST POP-IN OF THE YEAR: There will be a Pop-In, in Iden village hall, on Monday January 11th at 11am. Everyone is welcome for tea/coffee and a get-together. We will all want to compare notes on our Christmas and New Year activities.

BINGO: The first Bingo of the new year will be on Thursday January 7th, in Iden village hall. Doors open at 2pm, eyes down at 2.30pm. Everyone is welcome from the Rye area. There is a jackpot, a flier, a raffle, and a light tea is served. It’s quite nice to have an afternoon Bingo session, because we can still get home in the light.

THE FIRST JUMBLE OF THE YEAR: Iden Bowls Club are holding a jumble sale on Saturday 30th January, at 1pm in Iden village hall. It’s an excellent opportunity to clear out the house after Christmas, so if you have any jumble, please contact Vicky Britton [telephone 01797 280568] Anything other than electrical goods will be gratefully received.

CHRISTMAS DAY IN IDEN: Iden is quiet at the best of times, but on Christmas day, venturing outside, it is every bit the muffled, hallowed day it always is. People stay inside. I wonder why? Could it be that everyone banks up the fire or turns up the heating? The tree twinkles, the oven is full of turkey and roast potatoes, and there are gifts to open, but most of all there is an aura about the whole day that can only be Christmas. It’s a noisy day in most homes, but if we stop and listen, a stillness too that is hard to describe. Next day, Boxing day, people emerge, and go for country walks. Voices are heard, and children wobble precariously on new bicycles, but on Christmas day we are cocooned inside, tired, snug and full of Quality Street and Christmas pudding! Some people wear their pyjamas all day, some dress up in all their finery and many people go to bed at midnight, still wearing a paper hat! Whatever makes us happy- it’s Christmas!

CONTACT ME: If anyone would like to add anything to the Village Voice, please ring Gill Griffin [ telephone 01797 280311] KEEP SAFE AND WARM, AND HAVE A SPLENDID CHRISTMAS!

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